National | Politics

Bagbin cautions ministers who fail to appear before Parliament

Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin

The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin has cautioned ministers of state who fail to appear before the House to answer questions regarding their respective ministries.

According to the Speaker, the failure of some ministers to respond to summons by Parliament is becoming a canker which can derail the progress of the House.

Speaking on the floor of Parliament on Tuesday, he stressed that ministers of state must endeavour to respond to Parliamentary summons, to ensure the smooth run of the Legislature.

Making reference to Article 122 of the 1992 Constitution and Standing Order 28 of Parliament, he explained that the absenteeism by minsters may be construed as contempt of Parliament.

The Speaker made these comments after the Minister for Transport, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, requested for a rescheduling of his appearance before Parliament.

In that regard he said, "Honourable members, ministers don't decide when they'll appear before the House to answer questions. That decision is not for ministers. That decision is for the House and the Speaker".

He added: "I am tempted to refer his conduct to the Privileges Committee. But because of the intervention of leaders, I will resist that temptation and not refer him to the Privileges Committee for today. But the next conduct tantamount this behaviour will be referred to the Privileges Committee.

"I will not accept his request that the question be rescheduled for Thursday. I'll refer the question back to the Business Committee to reschedule it at the appropriate date for him to answer. We have 20 questions for today and therefore I'll excuse him for today and ask the Business Committee to reschedule the question".

Speaker Bagbin also emphasised that, Parliament will not accept situations where ministers fail to appear before the House.

"If for any good reason, please Chief Directors and Acting Chief Directors be told in very clear language. We're not going to entertain any language like 'the minister is unavoidably absent'. We're not going to accept that language. There must be a reason. An acceptable reason why a minister is absent. Not 'unavoidably absent'. What is that to the ministry?".

He continued: "Please there must be good reason why a minister cannot attend and answer the question. We're all humans. We've all been in this business for sometime. And we'll understand if the reason is cogent, it's acceptable, it's reasonable. But not 'unavoidably absent".

The Minister for Transport was expected to appear before the House on Tuesday to respond to some concerns including the recent increment in fuel prices. However, he failed to show up.

In expressing his reservations about the absence, Mr. Bagbin said the sector minister used to be punctual, but is now, "negating all the gains he made in the House".

Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah

Meanwhile, transport fares are expected to go up by some 10% later this week if the unionised operators, Ghana Private Road Transport Union and the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council, are able to get the Transport Minister’s blessings on this margin of increase.

The operators and the Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah, are expected to meet at a crunch meeting this Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022.

However, at a meeting between the two bodies and the Transport Minister last Friday, June 17th, 2022, there was some agreement that the fares should be reviewed.

But a final agreement was not reached on the margin of increase of petroleum products.

The meeting also concluded that the time has come for some taxes on fuel to be reviewed.

Prices of fuel on the local market increased over 4% on average terms in the just ended pricing-window of June 15, 2022.

For the rest of June 2022, the Institute for Energy Security (IES) projected another sharp rise in the price of the various products on the back of the 0.86% depreciation of the cedi and the international market price increase of 14.81% for petrol and diesel.

In nominal terms, it said petrol price will increase by about 10% to sell above ¢11per litre and diesel by about 15% to sell above ¢14 per litre.

Price of Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) however was projected to fall further by 5% from its current price.

Market leader, GOIL, has also increased the price of petroleum products at the pumps.

It went up over the weekend. A litre of petrol is going for ¢10.99 which is in line with the current market condition.

However, diesel is going for ¢13.39 pesewas.

Based on the pricing formula for the industry, it is clear that most of the Oil Market Companies have absorbed a fraction of the cost. 

This means prices should have been more than what is presently prevailing.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.